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Singer turns 160 years old

Ad from 1890

My Singer Story
When I was a very little girl I remember going to visit my great aunt. Once you crossed the threshold of her home you entered into another world. Every nook and cranny was filled with fascinating items from “years gone by.” A record player, a grandfather clock, every Shirley Temple movie ever made–they all intrigued me. But one item in particular completely captivated me. A vintage Singer treadle sewing machine (which I believe she still sewed on, though I never witnessed this mysterious event). I’d sneak into her room, sit on her bed, and simply stare at this mesmerizing machine. I’d dream up all the wonderful things that must have been created using this device. Years later, I’m still fascinated by everything sewing and I credit that old treadle machine for inspiring an interest that led to a career.
Your Singer Story
Countless sewers have similar stories. The Singer legacy has touched so many of us. In celebration of their monumental 160th anniversary, Singer has launched a special site for you to share your “Singer story.” Hundreds of sewers have already shared their stories of inspiration and creativity. As an added bonus, when you share your story, you’ll be entered to win a new Singer 160 Limited Edition machine coming out in January 2012.
Your Machine’s Story
Are you currently the proud owner of a vintage Singer? Now you can explore your machine’s past. Enter the serial number and receive information about where and when it was manufactured–as far back as 160 years! It’s like the Ellis Island for sewing machines. You will receive an acknowledgement certificate which can be printed for posterity or posted on your social media page.
Explore your Singer’s history, share your story, and enter to win a commemorative machine at MySingerStory.com.


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  1. ASGSEWS | | #1

    My Singer Featherweight was my high school grad. gift - 50 years ago. I still love it. It is a work horse. It makes better buttonholes than any of my $$$$$ Bernina or Vikings. I wouldn't part with it for anything.

  2. Bankie | | #2

    I grew up it the shadow of the Singer factory in Clydebank. At one time, the factory clock was the largest 4 faced clock in the world. The factory produce 10,000 sewing machines A WEEK. Where are they all now? (apart from the ones in Allsaints shop windows?)Singer's was demolished in the 80s but Singer's railway station still serves the people of Clydebank.

  3. littlemsdynamite | | #3

    I can remember watching my grandmother sew on her Singer treadle. Their clothes were used to make outfits like my very first apron at the age of 5. I still have it to this day & I'm getting ready to celebrate my 52nd birthday in a couple of weeks. My grandparents survived the great depression & I remember some quilts being made from old wool coats. Today we call it recycling. I still own a singer treadle besides my more up to date machine & wouldn't trade it for the world. It sews denim better than any other machine. I love the 1890 ad picture, what great memories it reminds me of. Would love to have it framed 7 hang in my sewing room.

  4. User avater
    yourwildestseams | | #4

    That type Singer treadle (cover) is the first machine my brother & I goofed around on. One peddled & the other 'sewed'. My second machine was an old Singer converted from treadle to motor. Put it on layaway & made five $5 payments! A lot back then. It only went forward & backward, but I made everything with that machine. The Singer I own now has run almost every day for the last 22+ years! I'll keep it even after I upgrade pretty soon here! Singers are hard workin' ladies!

  5. Soucieville | | #5

    My Mother had an old Singer Treadle machine, it was her Mother's also. In 1934 Grandpa had a motor put on it to modernize and help Mom. I still have that machine. My complaint is that it only stitches a straight line ! Other than that is is in great shape. The cabinet has so many drawers ! I used it to repair my husband's Carhart pants, heavy canvas pants for construction workers. My newer Singer, the slant needle type, just could not make it through the material without going out of adjustment. I can't say how often I had to have that slant needle machine re-adjusted. Nice machine, but...I have found another treadle machine, not in good shape. I am thinking of having the treadle portion put onto Mom's machine.

  6. 416 | | #6

    I am definitely a Singer sewing machine fan.In the early thirties our sewing machine was a real workhorse because Momma was a seamstress and Daddy was a tailor. Momma used the machine in the day to make clothes for us and her customers. She would cut out her patterns at night; on the other hand Daddy would cut out his tailoring projects in the morning and sew at night. The poor sewing machine was used everyday except Sunday. Even though it was a treadle machine that sewed only straight stitch, it was a money maker for our large family. My daughter still have the fancy Singer sewing machine with the slant needle in a desk she purchased in the seventies. I am glad they modernized the machine because I don't think I would be able to continue use it much since I am a senior past seventy.

  7. Moonbeams | | #7

    I only remember my mom having a Singer. As a seamstress, she loved having a Singer. The one I remember fondly is a treadle machine. Then she "graduated" to the knee lever. She was so excited when she bought a machine with a zig-zag and a reverse stitch.

    She never wanted any of the fancier models on the market. With her "fancy machines," she made wedding dresses, children's clothes, coats and hats and draperies.

    What do I use today? Singer, of course!

  8. Karilyn | | #8

    I grew up using a Singer sewing machine that my mother had purchased in the late 50's or early 60's. It was a green metal machine that required the use of a seperate attachment for button holes. I used that machine to earn Girl Scout sewing badges, make costumes for school and church productions and make dresses for special dances and occaisions. I still have that machine. I took it into a local sewing machine shop and had it cleaned and tuned up and the older gentleman that did the work said he didn't see many of those come in anymore. Two years ago I purchased a new machine from another maker....granted I haven't done alot of sewing in that time, but the new machine is still in the box and the Singer that I grew up on is still humming along! And I hope to keep using it in years to come!

  9. 1Suprise | | #9

    Thank you, for sharing with us..
    I love the old picture Singer

  10. msewwhat | | #10

    Many years ago, when I was a girl, my aunt worked as a seamstress in a sewing factory. On her visits to our home my aunt always brought along plenty of "stuff" she couldn't use anymore. We were a family of twelve so nothing she brought over went unused. On one of her visits she brought along a couple of sewing machines she no longer used. One was a Singer that my older sister Carol "adopted" as hers. My sister left home for college and took that machine with her and sewed a lot of her own clothes as a way to save money. I still remember a dress she made for me, it was a simple pillowcase dress made of green material. I loved that dress and decided right then that I was going to buy myself a Singer machine when I grew up.

    In 2008 my husband purchased the Singer Futura embroidery machine. I have been sewing just about everyday since! It is a lovely machine that can do just about everything!

    Thank you Singer!

  11. User avater
    MissPat | | #11

    I was 6 years old in 1945 when I finally deviled the woman who took care of me while my mother worked (didn't have "baby sitters" in the '40's) into letting me run the treadle machine. I remember being told not to sew my finger. I am now 72 and have yet to "sew my finger." The machine was a Singer treadle. My mother had an old electric Singer in a wooden case that I started using. I remember she traded it in for a centential model which I loved. After that the Singers that I used were never quite as good. I would love to own a "Featherwieght" as I am a costumer and have to carry my machine back and forth to the theatre for repairs etc. However, my love of sewing and creating began at age 6 and here I am with a sewing machine, serger, iron and ironing board that never get put away. Love it!

  12. Suzaan | | #12

    I am the owner of my late grandmother's Singer Sewing Machine. The serial number is Y6541462. On the instruction booklet there is typed "INSTRUCTION FOR USING THE SINGER SEWING MACHINE No.15 (CENTRAL BOBBIN)". This sewing machine was issued in 1929.

    I remember when we visited my grandmother in her flat when I were in primary school, I always went and sit in front of the machine and put my foot on the big foot control and pretended that I was sewing. My mother used to tell me about the dresses my grandmother used to make for other women and also for herself, my mother and sister - and I guess also their brother - and she made my mother's wedding gown on this machine (lace and satin). They stayed in an forest or plantation (Berlin in South Africa and during about 1940 they were transferred to Belfast,SA - my mother was in Standard 6). My grandmother was for years a member of the Women Agricultural Union or Association. She used to enter the sewing "competitions" in the Agricultural Show (The section that dealt with sewing and baking). My grandmother won mostly first and second prizes (Unfortunately my cousin took the prize cards before I could take it). My grandmother was not formally trained as a teacher, but way back during about 1940 the Minister of Education sent her a letter that stated that she could teach sewing to the schoolgirls. She had to submit samples of buttonholes, etc to them. She helped my cousin and me with sewing when we were in school (I had sewing and cooking only until standard (Grade 9) because I was more interested in sport than in sewing. That Singer Sewing Machine had a huge impact on my life and I am proud to be the owner of the machine and I am also proud to say that I now earn some money out of sewing - thanks to my grandmother and mother.

  13. User avater
    hollynoel | | #13

    My first sewing machine was a $99.00 Singer that my mother bought me. I sewed on that machine from 1967 until 1995 when I bought my first computerized machine. I still have my Singer in reserve and would never part with it. I sewed everything from chair covers to evening gowns on that Singer and, to this day, it still sews the straightest seam ever.

  14. Melanie25 | | #14

    I have both my maternal and paternal grandmothers' Singer treadle sewing machines. Such treasures. I also have many of the attachments they used with the machines.
    I can remember with the Y2K scare, regarding electricity, I felt comfortable knowing I would continue sewing because I had two treadle machines!
    Singer machines are a standard in our family. My mother used a Singer sewing machine to sew all of my clothes through elementary, high school and college. I still have my portable singer she gave me more than 30 years ago when I got my first job out of college.

  15. marg | | #15

    My Singer Story, My father bought my mother a singer 221 as a gift because she said; It would be nice to sew clothes for our baby, me. My mother did not sew she was just museing about somethin to do while she waited for my birth. My father thought all women could sew after all his mother sewed. My mother,not wanting to disappoint her new husband read books and patterns and made clothes for me. This was 1954. 12 years later I learned from her how to sew on that same machine. My father wanted to get my mother a new machine so he traded in that 221 for a new machine. My mother did not sew and only did when she had to so I have no idea what he was thinking.I on the other hand, started and have never stoped. I have 3 singer 221's I use them when I have to travel with a machine. I have Bernina's that I use every day. I wish singer was the same company it was 50 years ago.

  16. User avater
    RevDi | | #16

    My first sewing machine was my grandmother's "portable" Singer, a black and gold beauty with an oak carrying case. It was very heavy and sewed only a straight line - no reverse stitch, no zig-zag. But I loved the knee bar, and lovely hum it made as it stitched away, and the secure feeling that I had when I sewed on it. I was nine years old when I started sewing, and that machine served me very well for some time. (How I wish I still had it, but I gave it to a stepsister when I got a newer Kenmore and she needed a sewing machine.)

    I sewed very happily away on it until one day it just froze up. Stopped cold. No stitching. Nothing. My mother took it to the local repair shop. The man looked at my mother with disgust and said, "Lady, you have to oil it every 40 years or so."

    What a workhorse! Forty years before it got its first drink of oil!!

  17. gslady | | #17

    As a child in the 1940's I learned to sew on my grandmothers' treadle Singers. One had a Singer and the other a White (bought out by Singer for bobbin patents). In the Great Depression my mother was voted "Best Dressed" in her high school class in spite of the fact that she had not one new piece of clothing all yr. but had altered and redesigned many things on the treadle machine. When I became engaged while in college, I made my wedding dress and honeymoon suit on a borrowed Featherweight while sitting crosslegged on the floor in the dormitory. My grandmothers joined together to give me $150 for a wedding present with instructions to"buy something just for myself". I bought a Featherweight of my own and for years made clothes for myself, my son, my husband, and my home decorations. When I had a daughter in the 1960's I had to trade my Featherweight in (cried all the way home) to buy a zig-zag machine to make her knit outfits. As she grew I made all her costumes, prom dresses and school outfits on that machine. A few years ago I bought an embroidery machine but have kept the Singer Zig-Zag. This year I bought my 13yr. old granddaughter the Featherweight model I wish I had been able to keep and spent the summer teaching her to sew on her very own machine.

  18. yemini | | #18

    I am a senior citizen from India . Ofcourse i had visited my son in U S CT Rocky Hills and enjoyed my charity sewing during christmas time . I was so happy to run a electric machine, of course singer!

    By the way i had chances of doing a T V feature on singer in my country in 80 s for women and home programmes as T V producer .
    We had the first picture of Tailor bird and the sewing machine that was displayed in !8 th Century in an exhibition in Europe. The machine that was on display was the brain wave of Singer. With modifications to day it stands as a symbol in fashion world .

    Imagine a moment ! with no machine to sew !
    My god the world will be clad in rags or clothes wrapped around ??
    Your magazine demos are very clear . I am an ardent follower of sewing and crafts designs in Net. Especially i love to sew bags , purse etc so that we can avoid plastic carry bags that is almost choking our breaths In my country !
    Love Yamuna Subramanian fondly called

  19. User avater
    callumcross24 | | #19

    Thank for sharing this wonderful pic

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